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We can do better than this

Below the fold you’ll find the first in a series of “Medicare for All” graphics I’m developing. At the moment they’re just to look at, but they’ll include a call to action as soon as The Search Committee finds an appropriate one.

The ongoing Obamacare drama presents an opportunity to raise the visibility of single-payer and to draw new adherents to it from a variety of positions. Everybody everywhere likes them some Medicare, except the people whose profits are diminished by it. Nobody likes insurance companies, except the people whose profits depend on them. This is one of those rare moments when just about everybody is talking about health care and 90% of the people who are talking about it are saying “lord god this is fucked up.”

Lots of people think that we were robbed of a splendid opportunity to push for single-payer in 2009-2010. Lots more people don’t, as represented by both the “votes weren’t there” crowd and the “Socialism! Ah! Ah! Aieeeeeeee!” crowd, who should all think about how they came to be on the same side of this issue. And to my “the votes weren’t there” friends, I will once again mention that if you never try to get the votes, the votes will never be there.

In any event, another opportunity has arisen and we’ll be robbing ourselves if we don’t take advantage of it.

The background photo in this flyer is off Flickr using a creative commons license. For font aficionados, the font all the way through is ITC New Baskerville Standard. I want to make graphics that are suitable both for posting online and printing as handouts/pinups. Let me know what you think.

Medicare for All

Coming soon: what you can do.

4 comments to We can do better than this

  • JackD

    As member of the votes weren’t there crowd, I’ll be very interested in your “what you can do” suggestions. Hopefully, you’ve got some thoughts about how to get the votes that weren’t there there.

    • The main thing people who support the policy can do to help get the votes is to unequivocally support the policy. During the Obamacare debate, people were saying “I support single-payer but the votes aren’t there.” Then they said “I support single-payer but the robust public option will get us there eventually.” Then they said “A robust public option would have been great but even a modest one is good.” Then they said “It isn’t going to work as well with no public option at all but we’re committed now.” Now they’re saying, “I support single-payer but pushing for it now will undermine Obamacare.” When Obamacare doesn’t do what people think it’s supposed to do, and they rebel, the “Yes, but …” crew will say “I support single-payer but people are soured on government intervention so now isn’t the time.” If at some point the Obamacare negotiations had collapsed altogether, the “yes, but …” people would have said “I support single-payer but this is what happened with Hillarycare and now we have to wait another generation.”

      Politicians hear the “but” and they know immediately they’ll pay no price for ignoring single-payer (or any other “yes, but …” issue). That’s why Pelosi felt free to renege on her promise to bring the John Conyers “Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act” to the House floor in 2009, which would have given the policy some Beltway legitimacy and made it available for discussion. That’s why Baucus was comfortable with having single-payer advocates thrown out of his hearings and arrested. That’s why Obama was comfortable negotiating away the “public option” in private before he said he supported a “robust public option” in public.

      Organized proponents of the policy haven’t always done a stellar job, but in their defense they’ve been shut out of the discussion, sometimes forcibly. Still, they need to do better at organizing actual supporters and much better at reaching out to potential supporters. As it stands, they’re mostly preaching to the choir.

  • JackD

    Probably wouldn’t hurt if they were able to help elect some progressives. As to vote counting in either house, you can’t stop that. It’s a major part of what legislators do. We need to get the votes there to count. Nancy will count them if they are there. So will Harry. He’s having some problems with that right now on the filibuster issue.

    • My position regarding Nancy and other Democratic party leaders, and I think it’s a sound one, is that if they make no effort to promote the policy and line up the votes then the votes will never be there. They won’t just magically materialize. Deliberately suppressing any discussion of a policy is not the same as supporting it but not being able to whip enough votes.

      I could very well be wrong, but I think Harry is ambivalent about the filibuster issue.